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Alberta and the Global Commons: A Climate Change Tragedy
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Author : Robert Boschman    
Type : Thematic Article
Printing Year : 2020
Number : 1
Page : 59-71
60    87




The Canadian province of Alberta contains the third-largest proven reserve of oil on earth, yet the disconnect between politics and the sciences has never been more severe or as consequential. A right-wing party given to authoritarianism has recently been elected in Alberta that is taking actions to ensure the continued extraction and transport of bitumen from the tar sands in the north. Despite the three recent warnings by scientists (beginning in 2017) concerning global climate change tipping points—and specifically that fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground—the government of Jason Kenney continues Alberta’s carbon-intensive extractive activities while waging destructive political engagement with Canada and the world. This essay documents Alberta in terms of the model provided by classical tragedy and highlights three acts: 1. The Great Flood of 2013; 2. The Great Fire of 2016; and 3. The Orphan Wells of 2020. In the tragic denouement currently underway here, Alberta’s reckless actions impact the global commons and affect all earthlings.

Alberta, tar sands, oil, tragedy, climate change, commons

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